Looking for something to do with the kids?  Nothing is better than heading out for a fun family outing….nothing that is than a FREE family outing.  Luckily, here in NJ, we’ve got tons of places and things to do where you can leave your wallet at home. 

The New Jersey Naval Museum – Museums and grounds are free, but there’s a fee for the guided tours (not expensive, but worth it!).  In the museum, you will find lots of cool gadgets and a collection of unique items that were used during the WWII, along with authentic torpedos and submarines.  BONUS: It’s worth spending 20 minutes to tour the actual USS Ling submarine where you can experience life underneath the sea.  Hackensack, Bergen County.

Howell Living History Museum – The working historical farm demonstrates life from the 1700s; sites include animals, crops, barns, farmhouse and more.   BONUS: They offer a number of special events and activities every month.

Princeton Art Museum – On the grounds of Princeton University, this art museum showcases American, African, and European artwork and more. BONUS:  You can download a free activity guide for kids before you visit, plus they often have Saturday morning drop in art activities.

Visual Art Center – A non-profit art center that displays diverse exhibits in three interior and an outdoor exhibition space. BONUS:  They have changing exhibits, so there is always something new to see PLUS the galleries are small enough kids won’t get bored.

Montclair Art Museum – Admission is free the first Thursday and Friday of the month.  The museum showcases traditional and contemporary American Indian art and artifacts. BONUS: They have several free family activities and events during the year.

Morris Museum – Admission is free for military families. The museum covers just about everything - art, dinosaurs, mammals, rocks and gems.  BONUS:  It’s not quite free, but the museum offers Super Science Saturdays for $3 (a pretty good deal!)

NJ State Museum – The NJ State Museum is really 4 Museums in 1:  Fine Arts, Archeology, Cultural History, and Natural History – and all relate to NJ! BONUS:  They offer ongoing activities and events from story time, gallery carts and scavenger hunt (pick up clues at Information Desk)

Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park – This small museum is dedicated to Thomas Edison and his work.  BONUS: Enjoy a beautiful walk or picnic in renovated Edison State Park.

Atlantic City Historic Museum is between Broadwalk and New Jersey Avenue right in the heart of Atlantic City.  Free Admission.   Currently closed due to storm related repairs.

Westpoint Military Academy, NY – Take a one hour (or two hour) bus tour onsite and you will learn history!  There’s an onsite museum featuring a great weapons exhibit, you will see a full scale cadet barracks room, a cadet uniform room, and more.  BONUS:  You will see Cadets onsite training and on duty. 

Statue of Liberty National Monument – There is no entrance fee to enter the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.  There is a fee to reserve a ticket to the crown. BONUS: Get there with the Statue Cruises leaving from NJ and NY daily.  You’ll experience how it was to arrive New York Harbor as an immigrant.

Museum at Fashion Institute, NYC – Check out their changing (and fascinating) fashion exhibits.  Kids will love to see how fashion has progressed throughout history.

BONUS:  You are in NYC!  Head to Central Park, stroll along the Highline, amble along the Hudson River.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC - The Met has so much to offer kids and their families.  Free drop-in programs for kids.  Family Programs at The Cloisters.  They ask that you pay the recommended admission price, but not required to pay the full amount.  1000 Fifth Ave, NYC.